Coast Guard transfers 350 pounds of seized cocaine to the Dominican Republic Navy

7th Coast Guard District NewsSAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) law enforcement crews, as members of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group, in conjunction with Dominican Republic’s Navy and Air Force authorities recovered a 350-pound- cocaine shipment, 168 bricks, from the water following a maritime pursuit of a drug-smuggling vessel Saturday in the Mona Passage.

The crew of a CBP Caribbean Air and Marine Branch surveillance dash-8 aircraft detected two men aboard a 20-foot yola (boat) Saturday morning transiting towards the Dominican Republic, approximately nine nautical miles north of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

“This case showcases the close and effective coordination between U.S. federal law enforcement agencies and Dominican Republic authorities in preventing yet another drug shipment from reaching the streets,” said Capt. Marc Stegman, U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan acting commander.

Upon noticing they had been detected by law enforcement authorities, the crew of the suspect vessel immediately proceeded to throw their cargo overboard.

CBP’s Caribbean Air and Marine Branch requested Coast Guard assistance in contacting Dominican Republic authorities to advise them that the suspect vessel was entering Dominican Republic waters.

Coast Guard Sector San Juan Watchstanders proceeded to coordinate with Dominican Republic authorities and divert the Coast Guard Cutter Chincoteague to provide assistance.

The Dominican Republic Air Force responded by launching a Tucano aircraft and taking over the aerial pursuit of the suspect vessel into Dominican Republic territorial waters, while the Dominican Republic Navy vessel Benevola also responded to the scene.

The crew of the Chincoteague arrived on scene and was vectored in by the crew of the CBP aircraft to the position of the jettisoned cargo. The crew of the Chincoteague launched their small boat and recovered 7 bales from the water, each containing 24 bricks of contraband and weighing approximately 50 pounds. Field tests conducted at the scene revealed the contraband to be cocaine.

The crew of the Chincoteague transferred all seven bales of cocaine to the crew of the Benevola.

The Chincoteague is a 110-foot patrol boat home ported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

In July 2006, CBIG was formally created to unify efforts of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Office of Border Patrol – Ramey Sector, the United States Attorney‘s Office for the District of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid action (FURA) in their common goal of securing the borders of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.

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